I haven’t discussed foreign policy in a while (aside from the Republican candidates). I have stated that my economic outlook for 2012 is more uncertainty, with a fight between inflationary forces and recessionary forces.
If there is war with Iran, everything changes. It would be quite catastrophic. It would be horrible for the people of Iran. There would be many needless deaths and major destruction. Lives would be ruined.
There would also be effects felt throughout the planet. It would be devastating to the U.S. economy, along with most other inhabited places that rely on the global economy.
One thing that is easy to predict is that the price of oil would go to the sky. The Iranian government would attempt to close the Straight of Hormuz. It could be quite “successful” in doing this for a period of time. Even if it closed for just a few days, it would spook the oil market like never before. Many people are predicting that oil would hit $200. I think this is very conservative. I think we could see a temporary spike go over $300 easily.
As I have said before, a rise oil prices does not cause inflation. If there is no change in the money supply, people will have to budget differently. They will either have to cut back on the use of oil (mostly driving) or they will have to cut back somewhere else in their budget. Most people will do both. This means less money to eat out, to buy electronics, to take vacations, etc. Prices will fall in other areas.
However, if there is war with Iran, then the Fed will most likely start another round of quantitative easing (money creation). It will cost the government even more money to fight a war with Iran, which means that the deficit/ debt will get even worse. It means that the Fed will have to monetize this debt.
The fact that the U.S. government is in such a hole financially might just save us from another major war. There is a lot of talking going on, but hopefully Obama is not that stupid. He has to realize that the U.S. would suffer financially in a major way. If Obama does not start a war with Iran, maybe I can give his presidency a “D minus” instead of an “F”. McCain would have been more likely to start another major war. So perhaps we could have done worse than Obama.
There is a possibility that the Israeli government might start a war. But I find this unlikely if they do not have the support from the Obama administration.
The U.S. has really already committed an act of war by placing these embargoes on Iran. Hopefully it will end there and there will be no major conflicts.
I give the chances of an all-out war with Iran to be less than 50%. Those odds would continue with a Romney presidency. They would go up with Gingrich or Santorum. They would be near zero with Ron Paul.
Hopefully there will be no war. If there is, be prepared for an even more wild ride financially. Expect oil to go out of control. You can also expect gold to skyrocket with it.